D you know Integrated Circuit . What we didn't realize then was that the integrated circuit would reduce the cost of electronic functions by a factor of a million to one, nothing had ever done that for anything before" - Jack Kilby
The Integrated Circuit
It seems that the integrated circuit was destined to be invented. Two separate inventors, unaware of each other's activities, invented almost identical integrated circuits or ICs at nearly the same time.Patents for the Integrated Circuit
In 1959 both parties applied for patents. Jack Kilby and Texas Instruments received U.S. patent #3,138,743 for miniaturized electronic circuits. Robert Noyce and the Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation received U.S. patent #2,981,877 for a silicon based integrated circuit. The two companies wisely decided to cross license their technologies after several years of legal battles, creating a global market now worth about $1 trillion a year.
In 1961 the first commercially available integrated circuits came from the Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation. All computers then started to be made using chips instead of the individual transistors and their accompanying parts. Texas Instruments first used the chips in Air Force computers and the Minuteman Missile in 1962. They later used the chips to produce the first electronic portable calculators. The original IC had only one transistor, three resistors and one capacitor and was the size of an adult's pinkie finger. Today an IC smaller than a penny can hold 125 million transistors.
Jack Kilby holds patents on over sixty inventions and is also well known as the inventor of the portable calculator (1967). In 1970 he was awarded the National Medal of Science. Robert Noyce, with sixteen patents to his name, founded Intel, the company responsible for the invention of the microprocessor, in 1968. But for both men the invention of the integrated circuit stands historically as one of the most important innovations of mankind. Almost all modern products use chip technology.